Randal Quran Reid was driving to his mother’s home the day after Thanksgiving last year when police pulled him over and arrested him on the side of a Georgia interstate. They told him he was wanted for crimes in Louisiana before taking him to jail. Reid would spend the next several days locked up, trying to figure out how he could be a suspect in a state he says he had never visited. A lawsuit filed this month blames the misuse of facial recognition technology by a sheriff’s detective in Jefferson Parish, La., the Associated Press reports.. “I was confused and I was angry because I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “They couldn’t give me any information outside of, ‘You’ve got to wait for Louisiana to come take you,’ and there was no timeline on that.”
Quran Reid, 29, is among at least five Black plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against law enforcement, saying they were misidentified by facial recognition technology and then wrongly arrested. Three of those lawsuits, including one by a woman who was eight months pregnant and accused of a carjacking, are against Detroit police. The technology allows law enforcement agencies to feed images from video surveillance into software that can search government databases or social media for a possible match. Critics say it results in a higher rate of misidentification of people of color than of white people. Supporters say it has been vital in catching drug dealers, solving killings and missing persons cases and rescuing human trafficking victims. They also contend the vast majority of images that are scoured are criminal mugshots, not driver’s license photos or random pictures of individuals.